May 2, 2005
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SELECTED TO RUN SARASOTA HOUSING AUTHORITY
Former HUD employee responsible for managing housing and community development
programs and policies in New York City selected to help improve public housing
WASHINGTON - The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as receiver of the Housing Authority of Sarasota (HACS), has selected William O. Russell as the new executive director of the troubled housing authority.
Russell most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Housing and Voucher Programs at HUD. In this capacity, he directed operations of HUD's public housing and Section 8 - the agency's two largest programs with a budget totaling $18 billion. He managed a staff of more than 200 employees at Headquarters and HUD's regional offices.
"As receiver of this housing authority, I now know first hand the kind of leadership lacking at HACS," said Carmen Valenti, the HUD-appointed receiver, who serves as the HACS board of commissioners. "In his time at HUD, Mr. Russell has demonstrated his ability to manage people, execute budgets and develop policies and procedures to improve operations. We are confident Mr. Russell will serve the people of Sarasota well.
Russell will begin his official duties at HACS on May 16, with an annual salary of $140,000. He will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the housing authority. This will include ensuring the 588 public housing units and 780 Section 8 units are safe, decent and sanitary for the residents. He will also work closely on the transformation of the housing authority by building ties with residents and the local community.
Prior to HUD, Russell managed all housing and community development programs and policies for former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. He advised and coordinated with the city's housing agencies on legislative developments.
Russell has a master's degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.